Opinion writer

* Erica Werner reports that there are apparently some people who are not tempted at the prospect of Big Macs and a rehashing of a certain someone's spectacular electoral college victory:

A group of rank-and-file House Democrats turned down an invitation to have lunch with President Trump at the White House on Tuesday, a snub that underscores the extraordinary divisions that have brought negotiations over the government shutdown to a standstill.

The invited Democrats, including centrist-leaning freshman and sophomore members, skipped the meeting amid calls for unity from Democratic leaders and fellow lawmakers who had voiced concerns the meeting would be little more than a photo opportunity that bolsters Trump.

Their decision marked another failure in the White House’s ongoing attempt to splinter Democrats, who instead are holding firm against Trump’s demands for $5.7 billion for his border wall.

That he thought that was going to work just shows how clueless he is.

* Mike DeBonis and John Wagner report that Republicans are still working through their feelings about Steve King:

The House voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to condemn white nationalism and white supremacy, a measure prompted by the comments of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who openly questioned why those terms had become offensive.

Having been stripped of his committee assignments Monday and facing further reproach, King went to the House floor Tuesday to say that he would support the resolution while continuing to protest that he had been misquoted in the New York Times article.

"There is no tape for this interview I did. There's no way to go back and listen,” he said, conceding that he might have said the quoted words but challenging how they have been interpreted. “That ideology never showed up in my head. I don’t know how it would have come out of my mouth."

The resolution, introduced by House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), mentions King’s remarks in its preamble, but the measure does not directly rebuke King himself. It passed 424-1, with Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ga.) voting no because he favors a censure of King.

How could that have come out of my mouth, when I’ve only said nearly the same thing a dozen other times? It just doesn’t add up.

* Matt Gertz, who has created a genre by comparing Trump’s tweets to early morning Fox News content, demonstrates how Fox persuades Trump he’s winning the public opinion battle over the shutdown, which may be why he’s in no hurry to end it.

* Shikha Dalmia has a great piece explaining why we actually need more immigration, not less.

* Murray Waas reports that Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker failed to disclose that when he was a private citizen he worked with the White House to discredit the Mueller investigation, which one might think would bear on whether he should have recused himself from overseeing it.

* David Dayen and Akela Lacy argue that the reason Mitch McConnell won’t just end the shutdown is that he’s up for reelection next year and he’s afraid of a challenge from the right.

* Ed Kilgore examines the new argument on the right: This shutdown will be great because it will reduce government, which we didn’t have the ability or guts to do on our own.

* Kimberly Gross and John Sides examine how polarized public opinion on immigration has become.

* Michael Grunwald looks at the lessons that the Obama environmental initiatives in the 2009 stimulus might hold for a Green New Deal.

* Suzanne Gordon and Jasper Craven report on how the Trump administration is trying to dismantle veterans' health care.

* Nicole Hemmer explains what the Steve King controversy tells us about the dilemma of covering extremism.

* And Ed Pilkington and Martin Pengelly report that Chris Christie’s upcoming book ruthlessly pummels Jared Kushner.